Wynde: Oregon education commitment “luke warm”

7:39 am

PPS school board member David Wynde takes the legislature to task in an Oregonian commentary this morning.

It’s no coincidence that Oregon has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Our lukewarm commitment to education hurts Oregon’s short-term and long-term economic growth.

Oregon’s response to this crisis couldn’t be more contrary to President Barack Obama’s strategy. The president is using stimulus dollars to blunt school cuts and spur important reforms because he believes education is vital to our nation’s economic growth.

In Oregon, we say education is a priority, then slash schools and programs for lack of funds. The state does not have the same budget flexibility as the federal government, but other states keep their schools operating.

We are suffering a dismal failure of leadership in Salem. Even with a Democratic super majority in the legislature a Democratic governor, nobody is taking the lead in proposing reforms our inadequate, unstable revenue stream, and nobody seems to connect the dots between education and the economy as Wynde does.

Perhaps we need to look at local funding options again. If the state of Oregon doesn’t have the sense to fund our future, perhaps the people of Portland do.

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Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

filed under: Budget, Media, School Board, State, Tax policy

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3 Responses

  1. Comment from Terry:

    You’re right, Steve. The failure of leadership in Salem is palpable, even with the Dems in charge.

    What bothered me about Wynde’s piece, however, was his lack of specificity in the “new revenue” and “bold solutions” he calls for. That’s all too typical of the school board’s timid approach to the legislature.

    Contrast that with Scott Bailey’s call for increased corporate and personal taxes to fund schools. Now that’s a “bold solution.”

    And what does Wynde mean by Obama’s “important reforms” for education? As near as I can tell, Obama’s call for “change” amounts to more charter schools and teacher merit pay.

    Wynde has been vocally opposed to that sort of reform. Has he changed his mind?

  2. Comment from David Wynde:


    Space limitations for op-eds led me to focus on defining the problem and urging legislators to make positive choices for schools so that we have the chance to vote for positive outcomes for our kids.

    I believe we have to raise the corporate minumum, change the kicker law to ensure a large well-funded reserve, enact a temporary income tax surcharge to raise revenues for the next biennnium, and suspend Measure 11 for two years to allow for reduced spending in corrections.

    As to President Obama’s reforms I am very grateful for federal financial support for K-12 education right now. In addition I was interested in what he had to say about looking at assessments that were more than “fill in the bubble” tests, mentoring and support for teachers and school leaders, and encouraging more graduates to consider teaching especially in science and mathematics.

    I have been very clear on my view on charter schools in Portland. I think that locally elected leaders in other cities are better place to know about the merits or otherwise of charter schools in their districts. On merit pay, my view is that (a) any scheme will require funding that we don’t have; and (b) until someone shows me a system that works for the benefit of kids then it is a distraction from a whole set of issues that we need to attend to right now.

  3. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    First step: acknowledge the problem. David is at least one giant step ahead of our governor and legislators.